Often it seems that we take on and start tasks and then at some point get to the point where the task feels too great, progress is slow, there is a feeling of being overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed. And in the end the desire to progress fades and you feel like quitting.
It seems that our drive and motivation is stuttering and obstacles to progress seem everywhere. Distractions are all too easily taken up and procrastination sets in. Ultimately this can lead to work on the task stopping altogether, with seemingly no clear way of it progressing to a conclusion!
So how can we ensure that we stay focused on the task at hand and motivated to see it through to its conclusion? Here are some simple steps that should help.

1. Make sure you know what the task is!
It seems obvious, but make sure that you are effective rather than just efficient (see previous post) and make sure that you are working on things that actually need to be done! Don’t waste your time working on or worrying about irrelevancies, focus on what needs to be done.

2. Break down your task into bite size chunks.
By doing so you create smaller, more manageable tasks that are then less daunting, will seem easier to complete. Furthermore by completing these smaller tasks you will then feel the sense of achievement gained (rather than the previous feeling of being overwhelmed!).

3. Establish momentum!
Just making a start is the best way (and it seems sometimes the most difficult) to getting to the end of the task – but you have to do it! Pick something ‘easy’ to start with, or something that you know that you will enjoy, perhaps something that you know can be done reasonably quickly. Completing that task will give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction..… so use that and move onto the next task, then the next, and the next. Continue like this and a head of steam will build that will be difficult to stop – it’s called momentum!

4. Avoid distractions.
You need to continue the momentum that has built up and must remain focussed, what you don’t need are distractions. Some will be difficult to avoid but you must help yourself to stay focused on the job at hand, leave emails, you can view them later, and avoid the phone (if at all possible!)
We hear so much about multitasking and clearly that can be a positive thing. But sometimes what you need is focus, you need to avoid distractions to get the job done and in this sense multitasking can be your enemy! Focus on completing the task – everything else can be done later, by doing so you will achieve more, will then become even more motivated and (see momentum above) this will snowball!

5. Take breaks.
Sometimes it is necessary to take a break, just to go for a walk and clear the mind – particularly if the task involves sitting in front of a screen for hours on end! Perhaps stop for a quick chat with someone or have lunch, get a drink or have a stretch – but get up and leave your desk, going online does NOT count as a break!
Aim to build regular breaks into your day, perhaps a 5 minute break from your desk every hour. By doing so you will come back just a little refreshed and raring to go, so by taking time out you will almost certainly increase the amount that you will achieve throughout the day.

This article is an adaptation of one by Hani Al-Qasem for which I thank him.

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